The development phase is when the creative foundation for a project is solidified through visual and written materials. Inspired by an idea or a vision, writers and artists strive to capture the unknown. To some, it is a seemingly simple process; however, it is much more challenging and typically far more involved than one might imagine. To start with, there are no hard and fast rules to development. The approach taken is dictated by the property, its source, and the individuals initially attached to it, and the buyer. The path that a property travels is typically a circuitous one as it finds its way to market. What is most important is that the content is given the time needed to ensure that the characters and stories are engaging and something an audience will care about.
This chapter provides an overview of the development process, focusing on the role of the producer during development. It covers the writing process in great detail; making deals with writers; the creation of a series bible; the stages of script preparation for both long and short form projects; and the various script versions needed during production. It also covers clearances and visual development.